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Decision on how the European Commission assessed the human rights impact before providing support to African countries to develop surveillance capabilities (case 1904/2021/MHZ)

Pondělí | 28 listopadu 2022

The complainants, a group of civil society organisations, were concerned that the European Commission did not assess human rights risks before providing support to African countries to develop surveillance capabilities, notably in the context of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTFA). The complainants contended that, before agreeing to support projects with potential surveillance implications, such as biometric databases or mobile phone monitoring technologies, the Commission should have carried out prior risk and impact assessments to ensure that the projects do not result in violations of human rights (such as the right to privacy).

Based on the inquiry, the Ombudsman concluded that the measures in place were not sufficient to ensure the human rights impact of EUFTA projects was properly assessed. To address the shortcomings she identified, the Ombudsman made a suggestion for improvement to ensure that, for future EU Trust Fund projects, there is a prior human rights impact assessment.

Decision on the refusal by the European External Action Service (EEAS) to invite a candidate preselected in a selection procedure for a contract agent post to sit the Contract Agent Selection Tool (CAST) tests (case 1963/2021/FA)

Pátek | 07 října 2022

The case concerned a selection procedure that was organised by the European External Action Service (EEAS) for a contract agent post. The EEAS shortlisted the candidate for the next stage of the procedure but then said that it would not invite her to an interview because she had not yet sat the Contract Agents Selection Tool (CAST) tests, which candidates must pass in order to take up a contract agent post with an EU institution. The EEAS explained that this decision was due to the urgent need to fill the post.

The Ombudsman found that the EEAS’s decision amounted to maladministration as it was in breach of the vacancy notice. As the selection procedure at issue had been finalised and the complainant had passed the CAST tests in the context of another selection procedure, the Ombudsman closed the case without making a recommendation.

The Ombudsman suggested that, in future selection procedures, the EEAS considers its needs when deciding on the eligibility criteria for a post to be filled. In case of a change of needs following the publication of the vacancy notice, the EEAS should withdraw the vacancy notice and publish an amended version in its place.

Decision on how the Research Executive Agency (REA) complied with a decision by the European Commission concerning the evaluation of a project proposal under the Horizon 2020 programme (case 1521/2021/LM)

Úterý | 13 září 2022

The complainant participated in a call for proposals under the Horizon 2020 programme, which was organised by the Research Executive Agency (REA). The REA did not select the complainant’s proposal for funding but the European Commission subsequently annulled the REA’s decision and instructed the REA to re-evaluate the proposal. The REA re-evaluated the complainant’s proposal but decided not to allocate funds to it. Dissatisfied with this outcome, the complainant turned to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman found that the REA re-evaluated the proposal in line with the applicable rules and that the re-evaluation was fair. She thus closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.